The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To James and Julia Monroe
17 November 1868
[Ms in Finney Papers, Supplement # 166. A number of the names on the 4th page are underlined, but not by Finney. Extracts from this letter were published in Frances J. Hosford, "Finney and His Children" in The Oberlin Alumni Magazine, Vol. 30 (July 1934), p. 301.]
Oberlin Ohio, U.S.A.
17. Nov, 1868.
My Dear Children.
Julia's last was duly recd.
We owe God many thanks for
your continued health & happiness
in that far off country.
Your friends make continual
inquiry after you. Ainsworth
Milbank has made us his
anual visit since I wrote
you. His mother & family were
all well. By this mail you
will get the results of the
last election. Do you get
"The Nation" published weekly
in New York? I have taken
it from the first number. It
is of more value than any
ten of our news papers.
Norton is so engrossed with his
superintendency of the R.R.
that he has not written me of late,
Sarah is with us still. She has
now a little dog about the
size of a rat. She fondles
& caresses it wonderfully.
It is striking to see how it
develops her affections.
She let it fall from her arms
a few days since & it seemed
to almost break her heart.
She was quite inconsolable
for some time. She wanted
to know whether it knew how
sorry she was. It is as fond
of her as she is of it, & moans
to be seperated from her.
It will creep up into her
lap & try to be taken up like
a Child. The care & petting
of it affords her a great deal
of amusement, which she
needs as we have nobody
for her to play with.
We are having a powerful revival
of religion here at present.
We have been hindred much
by the two fall elections. But
the work has gone forward
with great interest & power.
At the Monday evening young
peoples meeting next after the
last election, a request was
made for those who had given
their hearts to God during the
election week to report themselves
Twenty two responded to this
call as having been converted
that week amongst the young
people. We have not seen so pow
erful a work amongst the students
for years. Our term closes this
week, & many of us regret it
as the Students will scatter
& I fear some of them will
leave unconverted. Last sab.
was a powerful day in our congre
gation. Will Morgan is married
to Geraldine Wood. She is the sister
of John's wife. I suppose Sarah
Steel is soon to be married
to Albert Fitch. Mrs Sarah
Backus Ford from Brooklyn
has recently paid us a visit.
She told us all about Uncle
Hobart for whom she keeps house
Also about Fanny & all the Fords.
They were all well. I recd a letter
from her only a few days since. All
well & Fanny sent a great deal
of love to us all. Do you hear
from her. Old Mrs. Gardener, the
wife of the Apothecary & Mother of the
young laides [sic] whom you know,
died of dropsy of the heart about
two weeks ago. Mrs. Barrett a
widow lady three doors west of
us, died instantly of heart
disease a few days since.
I am as well as usual. Mother
will speak for herself.
God bless you all.
C. G. Finney
This word is spelt with one n.
The election for the presidency of the United States took place on November 3rd, when the Republican, Ulysses S. Grant, had a large majority.
In a letter dated October 26, 1891 to the editor of The Nation, Henry Matson, librarian of Oberlin College, and the person to whom Finney had dictated his Memoirs, wrote:
It may be to you a matter of interest that the favorite paper of C. G. Finney was the Nation. He took it from the first number, and just before his death he had renewed his annual subscription. He preserved all the numbers and gave them to the college library, where they now do good service. The editorials especially he used to read with much zest.
(The Nation [New York: November 5, 1891], p. 352.)
Commenting on this remark of Matson's, Charles B. Martin wrote:
The attitude of President Finney towards "The Nation" is the more remarkable in that Oberlin was overwhelmingly Republican, and no paper was so bitterly hated by the Republicans as "The Nation."
(Charles B. Martin, "Reminiscences" [typescript, 1944], p. 14, in Oberlin College Archives.)
The first was on October 13, when there was the largest number of votes ever taken at Oberlin, 783 for the Republicans and 99 for the Democrats (see The Lorain County Hews, 14 October 1868, p. 3). The presidential election was on Tuesday November 3rd.
Under the heading "Married" in The Lorain County News, 18 November 1868, p. 2:
MORGAN--WOODS.--In New [York] City, Nov 16th, by the Rev. John M. Howe, William Henry Morgan Esq, of New York City, and Geraldine Woods of Iowa City.
Geraldine Woods (1848-1895) was the youngest of ten children of Rev. W. W. Woods, who had organized the First Presbyterian Church in Iowa City. In an account of her life in The Oberlin News 12 September 1895, p. 8, it states:
She and her sister Virginia left the Iowa State University to study in Oberlin College, where two of their brothers and one sister had previously studied. Mr. Wood sent his children to Oberlin because of his intense admiration and reverence for President Finney, whom he knew intimately through his writings and his work in New York City and in Oberlin. He wished them to be under the personal influence of such a man.
She was in the class of '67 but was called home because of the illness of her mother. She later went to New York City to study music and there married William Henry Morgan (1843-1886) the fifth child of John Morgan of Oberlin. He was a graduate of Oberlin and was studying law in New York City. Her sister Virginia H. Woods had married John Paul Morgan, another of John Morgan's sons.
Sarah Ann Steele, who had been a student in Oberlin College in 1865, was the daughter of Dr. Alexander Steele (see the notice of her death in The Oberlin Weekly News, 24 September 1880, p. 3.) The following notice appeared under the heading "Married" in The Lorain County News, 3 February 1869, p. 2:
FITCH--STEELE.--At the residence of the bride's father, Jan 27th, by Rev. John Morgan, D.D., Mr. Albert B. Fitch, and Miss Sarah A. Steele. All of Oberlin. No cards.
Albert B. Fitch was the son of James M. Fitch, the prominent Oberlin printer, editor, bookseller, abolitionist politician and superintendent of the Sunday School. Albert was in the book business himself in Oberlin. See "Death of Albert B. Fitch" The Oberlin Weekly News, 3 June 1881, p. 3; and Fletcher, History of Oberlin College, p. 903.
Eliza Gardner, died on October 30th, aged 63. She is stated to have been "for nigh forty years the beloved wife of Capt. Gardner, recently of Monroeville" (The Lorain County News, 11 November 1868, p. 3). J. M. Gardner & Co. advertised in the local newspaper for "Drugs and Dyes, Patent Medicines, Paints and Oils, Fine French and English Perfumery and Soaps, Toilet Articles, Combs, Brushes &c ... Prescriptions prepared with care at all hours" (e.g. in The Lorain County News, 18 November 1868, p. 1).